Glasses down for a good cause

NOT A DROP: Our House guests Shirley O’Neill and Bob Earle (centre), both of Yamba, support Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, Summerland Credit Union chief executive Margot Sweeney and Our Kids fundraising co-ordinator Rebekka Battista, who will raise money for Our House through the Dry July initiative.
NOT A DROP: Our House guests Shirley O’Neill and Bob Earle (centre), both of Yamba, support Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, Summerland Credit Union chief executive Margot Sweeney and Our Kids fundraising co-ordinator Rebekka Battista, who will raise money for Our House through the Dry July initiative. Marc Stapelberg

IN A world without Our House, cancer patient Shirley O'Neill would have had to commute more than three hours every day from Yamba to Lismore to receive radiology treatment or pay a small fortune for accommodation.

Fellow Yamba resident Bob Earle would also have had to make a similar trip to support his wife, who is having treatment at Lismore Base Hospital for lung cancer.

For Ms O'Neill, the combination of a three-hour round trip and the physical exhaustion of radiology treatment would have been too much.

"It would have been too tiring, I couldn't have done it," she said.

But fortunately for Ms O'Neill and Mr Earle, Our House was opened in December 2012, providing accommodation for patients receiving treatment at Lismore Base Hospital and their families.

Mr Earle said Our House had been "fantastic".

Since it opened, Our House has provided accommodation for more than 850 people from Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour, Ballina and Glen Innes.

Given the enormous benefit the building provides, it's not hard to see why several community members have agreed to go sober for a month to help raise funds.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell will be one of this year's Dry July participants.

Mayor Dowell said although she does enjoy a "glass of wine after a council meeting", giving up the grog was all for a good cause.

"Our House has a special place in my heart," she said.

People can choose to donate to Our House, which aims to raise $80,000 to make the car park, communal area and barbecue undercover.



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